Residents playing cards in a Living Branches community

Personal Care vs. Assisted Living: Do You Know the Difference?

The terms “personal care” and “assisted living” are often used interchangeably. Many are more familiar with the term “assisted living” because it has been around longer than “personal care,” and because personal care sounds more like a description than a type of community.

However, in 2011, Pennsylvania instituted legislation that separated care communities into these two separate categories. So what is the difference between a personal care and an assisted living community?

The difference between assisted living and personal care

The primary difference between personal care and assisted living is what other levels of care the organization offers. If a resident in personal care requires the services of skilled nursing (called Health Care at Living Branches), they would have access to a health care center within the organization.

At an assisted living community there is typically no nursing home or health care center on site, so if a health care stay is needed, the resident would be discharged to a health care center with availability.

Living Branches is licensed as Personal Care because we are a Life Plan Community (formerly known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community). That means our communities offer residents the full range of care services: Residential Living, Personal CareHealth Care, and Memory Care.

Residents who need a higher level of care have two available health care centers within Living Branches – at Dock Woods and Souderton Mennonite Homes.

Similarities between assisted living and personal care

Beyond that distinction, personal care and assisted living communities are similar. By definition, they provide housing, food, and help with activities of daily living.

At Living Branches, Personal Care is so much more than a place to sleep and eat. Residents enjoy their independence and expand their intellectual, emotional, and spiritual horizons, while receiving supportive services like medication administration, housekeeping, laundry, and more.

Personal Care services at Living Branches

Help with daily activities

Living Branches team members can help with many self-care activities, such as bathing, dressing, and managing medications.

Worry-free medical care

In a Personal Care community, there’s no need to pick up prescriptions, struggle to get a doctor’s appointment, or worry about managing health conditions like diabetes.

When you notice a change or have a question, there’s always someone ready to help. Our nurses – including RNs and LPNs – work right down the hall from your door.

High-quality dining

Enjoy first-rate meals and table service. To help you feel your best, our chefs will tailor meals to your dietary needs and preferences. Fresh produce is served year-round in all eateries, and in some venues, you can opt for farm-to-table produce and antibiotic-free pork products.

Well-kept apartments

It’s our pleasure to maintain your apartment for you. Housekeeping, linen laundering, and maintenance are included. Let us take care of everything, from shoveling snow to replacing a lightbulb.

Neighbors become friends

Friendship is just a door away! When you’re part of a Personal Care community, you spend less time planning and more time getting together with your new friends and neighbors.

Family is always welcome

Come and go as you like! Grab lunch in town, go shopping with friends, or celebrate a grandchild’s birthday. And your family members may visit any time, for any reason.

Around-the-clock safety

Living Branches communities are designed and maintained to reduce dangers that are common in the average home. Our team members are well trained on what to do in an emergency, and alert devices will summon our medical team at any time.

Outings and events

Check the resident portal to see what’s coming up! Mark your calendar for the next outing, concert, or class that catches your eye.

Campus spiritual life

In Personal Care, residents who want to practice their faith have ample opportunities, including church services, hymn sings, and Bible studies.

A server brings delicious restaurant-quality food to residents at Dock Woods in Lansdale

Personal Care neighborhoods

Whether you want to unwind or socialize with others, each Personal Care neighborhood offers plenty of space. When you visit campus, you’ll see many residents spending time with friends and family, strolling through the grounds, or enjoying a concert or special meal.

While each campus has its own flavor, residents find Living Branches communities a cut above. Each community is clean, well maintained, and tastefully decorated.

The Willows of Living Branches - Personal Care for seniors in Hatfield

The Willows at Living Branches in Hatfield, PA

Filled with touches of home, The Willows at Living Branches is a close-knit community with sunny apartments and plenty of enriching activities. Learn more about The Willows.

Souderton Mennonite Homes in Souderton, PA

Just a short walk from downtown shops and restaurants, Souderton Mennonite Homes is a village-like community in the heart of Souderton. Personal Care residences have all the charm and comfort of home. Learn more about Souderton Mennonite Homes.

Dock Woods – Personal Care for seniors in Lansdale

Dock Woods in Lansdale, PA

Tucked away on wooded grounds, Dock Woods is a large community with lots of amenities. Just steps from your door you’ll find an upscale restaurant, a bistro, a breathtaking chapel, well-tended gardens, and much more. Learn more about Dock Woods.

Older adults enjoying their time at Living Branches

Personal Care amenities

  • Private apartments furnished and decorated with your own items
  • Private bath with safety features
  • Individual controls for heating and cooling
  • Tasty restaurant-style dining tailored to your nutritional needs
  • Snacks throughout the day
  • Complimentary weekly housekeeping, linen laundering, and trash removal
  • Numerous activities with your dedicated life enrichment team
  • One-to-one counseling and support with a pastoral care team
  • Exercise classes and fitness activities for all levels of fitness
  • Creative arts therapy sessions in music, dance, and art

Community features

  • Common areas including country kitchens, game rooms, libraries, fitness centers, and recreation rooms
  • Beautiful outdoor spaces with walking paths and areas to socialize
  • Private dining room for special events and celebrations
  • Campus open around the clock for your loved one’s visitors
  • Transportation available for scheduled activities and personal appointments
  • Free off-street parking for guests and visitors
  • Full-service hair salon
  • Banking services (Souderton and Lansdale)
  • Complimentary laundry facilities
  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Devotions and chapel services

Living Branches is a non-profit system of senior living and affordable housing communities with campuses in Hatfield, Souderton, and Lansdale. Contact one of our sales counselors to see which campus is right for you.